Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Cape Town: hiking, wine tasting and couchsurfing

After spending two weeks in Cape Town I can sincerely say that it is a beautiful city. I had my doubts about whether or not I would like it as I've been avoiding big cities ever since I've arrived in South Africa.  Lesotho, Coffee Bay and Mozambique (to name a few) have therefore been perfect getaways for me. No hectic traffic, buzzing city lights or crowds of people. Nevertheless Cape Town turned out to be the perfect destination for a final trip before I embark to Holland. Moreover, I've been jumping at the chance to travel with my favorite South African.....needless to say, Nelson Mandela and I had a blast in Cape Town. Oh, spending time with Marga was alright as well. Jammer lief, jy weet ek is baie lief vir jou.

Beertje's first day in Cape Town
Beertje and I are proud to announce that we successfully completed a 37 kilometer hike at Cape of Good Hope. Now I've been on hikes before, some in South Africa even, but never one that lasted this long. It was a two day hike, with the first day comprising 20 km and the second day the rest of the trail. The scenery was absolutely amazing. Our physical state, not so much. Definitely well worth it though, even if I did feel like my legs were being slowly amputated on the second day, but all in good fun. A certain bear (who will remain anonymous) did no walking whatsoever, and just sat back comfortably in a bag while we hiked our asses off. He was later reprimanded.

Tired but satisfied after the first day

The proud and strong gaze of someone who just walked 20km

Don't look so smug, bear



Snack break

Aside from hiking we also visited the wine farms. Anyone who knows me well knows that I can't hold my liquor. So after trying 5 different wines I was well on my way to Tipsyville (which happens to be one stop before Obnoxious Town). My mother must be shaking her head out of disappointment as she reads this, apparently I did not inherit her Aruban genes. But to anyone who visits the Groot Constantia wine farm; try the Port, it's divine!

An interesting thing about this trip is that this was my first time couchsurfing. For those who don't know about the concept; it's a website where people offer their couches (or in most cases a guest room) to those who wish to visit their city. I think the mere fact that there are so many people that want to do something selfless for others and learn about other cultures and meet new people is a heartwarming thought. We first stayed with a girl in Blouberg who was incredibly hospitable and went out of her way to make us feel at home. Thereafter we visited an older retired gentleman who just wanted some company from those that wished to share it with him. We've met such interesting people and they've all been so warm and friendly to us that I'm sure I will definitely couchsurf again in the future.

All in all I think Cape Town is a must-see city. It's a perfect combination of city life and nature. Surrounded by mountains on one side and the ocean on the other, it really is a sight to behold. I've had a great time in Cape Town, but I'm even more glad to have been able to share it with someone important to me and Beertje. Although I'm sure I drove Marga crazy at times, I'm incredibly grateful to have experienced Cape Town with her. Also happy to have seen our friends Anel, Emile and Ben. Cape Town, you will be missed.

Table Mountain

There's always that one tourist that doesn't know how to behave in public (or on a mountain for that matter). Yes, you sir in the green shirt, you look stupid to say the least.

Marga's head and Lion's head

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

And we're free at last!

After many excruciating weeks of being stuck in a room studying all day with limited to no contact with the outside world; we're finally done! Then again, "we" is really not the right word here, since I'm the only one that was doing all the studying while Beertje just lingered around. Unfair you say? I concur.

Absolutely no moral support

I was so incredibly relieved after my last exam that I felt like reenacting a scene from The Shawshank Redemption. And although running out in the rain in slow motion with my hands up in the air seemed like a brilliant way to end the exam-period, I settled for a road trip to Cape Town instead. Everyone has been telling me that I can't leave South Africa without seeing Cape Town first, so I changed my ticket to stay here an extra few weeks. I've never been a big fan of road trips because I get horribly car sick from even a 20 minute drive, but good company definitely made the nausea bearable. So there we were heading to Cape Town; two girls, 1 bear and a cup. Just kidding, the cup couldn't make it, we settled for our friend Emile instead.
Ready to hit the road!
Beertje pulled a Rosa Parks and refused to go to the back of the car